Sabine Lazo was moved to tears when she was announced as the recipient of the Robyn Hanna Sportsmanship Award on July 5 at the 2017 AjPHA Youth World Championship Show. An anonymous panel selected Sabine, who is from Caldwell, Texas, for the award based on her outstanding display of sportsmanship throughout the World Show. She received a $1,000 scholarship and a custom Gist Silversmiths trophy buckle.
“From the first year I came to the World Show when I was 8 years old, I wanted to get the sportsmanship award,” Sabine said. “Each year, I always cast votes for the person I see exhibiting the best sportsmanship. I definitely didn’t expect to get it this year and was so surprised.”
The Robyn Hanna Sportsmanship Award is presented annually to an AjPHA member at the Youth World Show who exemplifies positivity and compassion. Presented in memory of APHA member Robyn Hanna, the award was renamed as part of 2014–2015 AjPHA President Meredith Milton’s service project that raised more than $35,000 to support the annual scholarship
“Sportsmanship is being selfless in and out of the show pen and putting aside what happened to you and focusing more on other people, other horses and your horse,” Sabine said. “It’s being a good teammate and partner to everyone. It’s not always easy when you’re showing against each other all the time to remain positive, but you have to put aside your own difficulties.
Outside of family and school, AjPHA is Sabine’s No. 1 priority; the association is her family, she says. Sabine has been a national director since she was old enough to run for the position and competes in English and Western all-around events with The Ultimate Attitude, a 2008 chestnut overo gelding. She came to the Youth World Show with high expectations and left feeling beyond accomplished and grateful.
In addition to the Robyn Hanna Sportsmanship Award, Sabine also took home a long-awaited neck ribbon for “Cooper” by winning a World Show championship in the Youth Versatility Challenge, an event that tests horse-and-rider teams in four different classes to crown an overall champion. Her superior presentation of sportsmanship was further proven as she was voted president-elect for AjPHA.
“My number one goal was to win $1,000 dollars in scholarships because I’m very focused on academics,” Sabine said. “My parents are both teachers, and while they work incredibly hard to support me, I do also show horses, and it isn’t a cheap hobby. It’s nice to know AjPHA will be there to help support my tuition one day.”
The 14-year-old’s positive attitude and goodwill was infectious in the show pen and across the grounds at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. She credits her barn mates for setting such a high standard of sportsmanship and defining what it means to really support one another.
“I feel like the Robyn Hanna was the most important award at this show,” Sabine said. “The rest of the awards are still incredible—winning a world championship or reserve is still an amazing accomplishment—but earning this sportsmanship award means more to me than a judge’s opinion. It is the opinion of your peers.”
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The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA creates and maintains programs that increase the value of American Paint Horses and enriches members’ experiences with their horses.